BIO3014 : Evolution and Behaviour

  • Module Leader(s): Prof. Candy Rowe
  • Owning School: Biology
Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0


1. To provide knowledge about how animals behave, why behaviours have evolved, and why the study of animal behaviour is important for research in other disciplines.
2. To use a variety of topics to illustrate how to measure and study behaviour, and enable students to understand and interpret primary research papers in various areas of animal behaviour.

Original Summary:
Why do birds sing? Why do meerkats look out for each other? Why do we study animal behaviour, and what does it tell us about our own behaviour? This course take an evolutionary point of view to answers these (and many other) fundamental questions, and looks at how we can understand why animals do what they do.

Outline Of Syllabus

The course will be made up of seminars and lectures on a variety of topics, including:

Sexual selecton
Predators and prey
Evolution of complex cognition and behaviour
Animal personality
Social learning and behaviour
Evolution of human behaviour

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture111:0011:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion12:002:00Final exam
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion110:305:30Revision for final exam
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading111:0011:00Completion of post-lecture directed reading
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching51:005:00Seminars
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study111:0011:00Lecture follow-up
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study51:005:00Seminar preparation
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study149:3049:30Study of lectures, ReCap, Blackboard etc.
Jointly Taught With
Code Title
PSY3001Evolution & Behaviour
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The weekly lectures will provide the basic theoretical framework for the course, and introduce students to current concepts and ideas in behaviour and evolution. They will also use recent data to support these ideas, and provide students with fundamental knowledge of the subject area.

The seminars will provide students with an opportunity to discuss current issues in animal behaviour and use what they have learned in the lectures. Seminars will be based upon group problem-solving and will ensure students' fluency with interpreting data within a theoretical framework.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination1201A1002 questions from 6
Exam Pairings
Module Code Module Title Semester Comment
PSY3001Evolution & Behaviour1N/A
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The written examination is used to assess: knowledge, independent learning and understanding of material relevant to the module; gathering of information from a variety of sources; understanding and application of theoretical concepts; critical evaluation of arguments and evidence; the ability to communicate effectively in writing; understanding and articulation of critical issues in animal behaviour; understanding and interpretation of primary research data in a wider theoretical context; the ability for critical thought and original approach.

Reading Lists


Disclaimer: The University will use all reasonable endeavours to deliver modules in accordance with the descriptions set out in this catalogue. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information, however, the University reserves the right to introduce changes to the information given including the addition, withdrawal or restructuring of modules if it considers such action to be necessary.